In this week’s issue: the Sudanese government attacked rebel forces in Furug resulting in 18 civilian deaths; ethnic leaders in Burma reaffirmed that they will not participate in upcoming elections without a review of the 2008 constitution and the release of all political prisoners; former CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda is ready to be returned to Congo or to the Hague to face criminal charges
Weekly News Brief, January 15 to 22, 2010
Your weekly news brief, compiled by Joshua Kennedy of GI-NET and the STAND E-Team. To receive news briefs and education newsletters, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Areas of Concern
- Researchers from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Brussels, have stated that their analysis of conflict-induced mortality in Darfur was primarily attributable to diseases. The centre said that 80% of excess deaths in Darfur were not due to violence. The study places the peak of violence in 2004, followed by “increased disease-related” fatalities.
- Police and opposition supporters clashed in Sudan’s Red Sea state on Thursday, resulting in 31 arrests and 9 injuries. The police attacked supporters of the non-NCP candidate for governor.
- Rebels reported that the Sudanese government attacked their forces in Furug on Saturday. According to the SLA, 18 civilians were killed when the market was bombed and ground troops shot into civilian crowds.
- Five Ethiopian Mi-35 attack helicopters are set to arrive in Darfur in mid-February. Personnel from the Ethiopian Tactical Helicopter Unit are set to arrive in Nyala January 22.
- The SPLM is preparing to contest governorships in all of Sudan’s 26 states in the upcoming elections.
- The Sudanese government revoked the operating licenses of 26 NGO’s that no longer were participating in humanitarian programming in Sudan. This appears to be a housekeeping exercise and no ongoing programs appear to have been affected.
- Ethnic leaders elected in Burma’s 1990 election reaffirmed this week that they will not participate in the planned election this year without a review of the 2008 Constitution and the release of all political prisoners.
Burma’s highest court heard Aung San Suu Kyi’s final appeal on January 18th concerning her continued house arrest. The court’s decision is expected within two weeks. The extension of Suu Kyi’s house arrest will mean she’ll be unable to participate in the upcoming 2010 elections. Suu Kyi is already constitutionally forbidden to run for office in the upcoming elections.
- Over 60,000 Burmese migrant workers possess Thai work permits that will expire on January 20, another 1.4 million have permits that will expire on February 28. Many of these migrants are ethnic minorities who have fled the Burmese military regime. The Thai government has not announced how it will proceed with the renewal process.
- The Burmese military regime has renewed an agreement allowing the ILO to monitor complaints of forced labor. It’s the third renewal of the agreement since its establishment in 2007.
- Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) suggested that the recent inconsistencies in U.S. policy towards southeast Asia has allowed China to expand its influence in Burma while U.S. influence wanes.
Democratic Republic of Congo
- MONUC peacekeepers and senior FARDC officials are reportedly planning a joint operation, Amani Leo, to begin at the start of February. The operation’s top priority is the protection of civilians, but Amani Leo is also aimed at holding liberated territory and further disrupt FDLR operations.
- The U.S. Senate announced that more than 51 senators have co-sponsored the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, authorizing a new strategy to neutralize the LRA as well as an additional $10 million in annual aid to the Ugandan government.
- LRA attacks continue in the northern DR Congo, with 83 people reportedly killed in thirty attacks during the month of December. These were concentrated primarily in the Haut- and Bas-Uele districts along the Sudanese border.
- OCHA is reporting that human rights abuses at the hands of the FARDC and FDLR continue in South Kivu, with the areas of Fizi, Kalehe, Mwenga, Shabunda and Uvira particularly insecure.
- Former CNDP head Laurent Nkunda is reportedly ready to be returned to the DRC or transferred to The Hague to face criminal charges. Nkuda also expressed a willingness to go into exile.
- A series of coordinated attacks by Taliban militants struck throughout the Afghan capital on Monday, killing ten and injuring dozens. Shopping centers and government ministries were among the targeted locations.
- A suicide bomber attacked a market in the southern province of Uruzgan, killing twenty civilians and wounding another 163.
- Iraqi security forces claim they have apprehended a senior Al Qaeda official responsible for several high-profile bombings in Iraq.
- Gunmen stormed an NGO office in Baghdad on Monday, killing five people. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber attacked an Iraqi army base, wounding dozens.
- An American drone strike in South Waziristan, targeting a Taliban supporter, killed 15 people last Sunday.Another drone attack in the same region on Tuesday killed another five people, identities unknown.
- The spokesman for the Pakistani army said that any offensive to secure the insurgent stronghold of South Waziristan would take between six months to a year.
- A Somali aid worker was found dead in the streets of Mogadishu on Sunday. Two other aid workers are still missing.
- Al-Shabaab and Hisbul Islam insurgents also reportedly raided aid offices in the town of Beledwenye, taking equipment from the offices.
- Witnesses reported fighting between AMISOM and TFG’s security forces at Mogadishu’s airport on Sunday.Shelling in the capital also killed 11 people on Monday.
- Fighting in Beledwenye has driven thousands of IDPs to flee in the last two weeks, says OCHA.Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency reported on Tuesday that an estimated 63,000 Somalis have been displaced so far in 2010.
- As Sri Lanka’s presidential elections near, Tamils are finding themselves courted by both candidates’ Sinhalese-dominated parties, who are offering the minority group greater rights and a prospect at equality with the country’s Sinhalese majority.
- President Rajapaksa has ordered a security crackdown after two people were killed in election related violence.
- The home of Presidential Candidate Sareth Fonseka’s campaign manager was targeted with a grenade attack in Colombo on Friday, January 22. No injuries were reported.
Around the World
- The French government may be seeking to extradite Dr. Sosthene Munyemana to Rwanda to stand trial for crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide. Dr. Munyemana was arrested on Wednesday near the city of Bordeaux.